The best Christmas markets in Europe


The continent is famed for its over-the-top Yuletide celebrations, and with Christmas just around the corner, it's time to start planning a visit to one of the best Christmas markets in Europe. From the mouth-watering delights of Lille to the entertaining spectacles of Prague, we unwrap the most festive places to sip mulled wine, shop for decorations, and generally be merry this year.




When it comes to Vienna, you’re truly spoilt for choice. One of the most famous Christmas markets in Austria is located in the City Hall Square, with over 150 stalls filling the cobbled streets of the Rathausplatz. Snack on roasted chestnuts or fresh gingerbread as you browse through premium leather goods, hand-blown glass and stylish ceramics. Time for a break? Warm up over a glass of Weihnachtspunsch, a traditional spiced Christmas punch made from wine, brandy or schnapps, and sweetened with fruit juice. You can attend the Vienna Christmas markets from the 20th of November to the 4th of January.





What to pack for Vienna



Lille, France

For foodies looking to indulge in gourmet cuisine, the Christmas market in Lille is a dream destination. Think spiced Pommes d'amour, homemade nougat and aromatic vin chaud to cancel out the chill. The market also plays host to a selection of nativity figurines and handmade Christmas decorations. If you’re looking for something extra special that you won’t find in a stall, explore the surrounding upmarket boutiques. And thanks to the Eurostar, you can arrive just in time for lunch, with journeys from London taking as little as 80 minutes. The Lile markets are open between the 19th of November and the 30th of December. 





What to pack for Lille 



Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg offers a quintessential German Christmas market experience that is sure to delight with its homely charm. With more than 15 markets specialising in old-fashioned fare, there is plenty to do for all the family. Little ones can look forward to visiting the ‘Toy Street’ filled with exciting playthings from all over the world, while grown-ups can browse through sweet treats, quirky clothing and one-of-a-kind decorations. You can head to the Hamburg markets from November 19th and December 30th, and while you're there why not whet your appetite with a glass of delicious local glühwein, the Bavarian answer to mulled wine?






What to pack for Hamburg



Prague, Czech Republic

Prague evolves into a festive fairytale over the Christmas holidays, with plenty of activities to make you feel merry. Glowing with lights and brimming with cheer, in the evening you can visit the giant Christmas tree spectacularly festooned with thousands of decorations, or head to one of the city’s many churches to watch a local choir perform heart-warming renditions of classic carols. Food fans can look forward to experiencing delicacies such as Klobasa, the Polish sausage, and flaky sugar-coated pastries. The Prague markets are open from the 27th of November to the 6th of January. 






What to pack for Prague 



Closer to home, it's been said that the Birmingham Christmas market makes you feel as though you’ve been transported to Frankfurt, as it brings every aspect of the famous German Christmas market to life. It's one of the largest spectacles of its kind outside of Germany, and offers authentic Bavarian cuisine such as Weissbier, Bratwurst and gingerbread. Little ones can enjoy an old-fashioned carousel, and a yuletide line-up programme offers a break from shopping to relax and have a sing-along with your loved ones. The Birmingham markets open this year on Bonfire night.




What to pack for Birmingham




Manchester's award-winning selection of stalls holds the reputation for being the original and best Christmas market in the country, so naturally it made our list as a must-visit destination for shopping. With nearly 350 beautifully decorated stalls offering handcrafted leather goods, jewellery, crafts and toys, it truly is a crown jewel of this buzzing city. And a lip-smacking array of international cuisine offers everything from hog-roast to paella, all washed down with a glass of fragrant mulled wine. Manchester's Christmas market opens on the 5th of December, and don't forget to stop by House of Fraser for a visit with Father Christmas. 





What to pack for Manchester 




London's Christmas market shopping season officially opens in November when Regent Street ceremonially switches on its Christmas lights for the annual pedestrian parade. It’s hard to resist singing along to Christmas carols at the Royal Albert Hall, a moving experience made all the better in the company of family and friends. Those in search of a little more action can visit London’s largest outdoor skating rink, and you can walk in Winter Wonderland from the 19th of November to the 3rd of January. 





What to pack for London 

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